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American standard-vintage conversion

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Cooper_aus, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    Just documenting the mods I’m trying to do to my American standard custom shop.

    It had a poly honey blonde finish and white
    pickguard that I never really loved. I never liked the 6 saddles and bridge pickup. So I stupidly decided to put a bigsby and bluesbreaker (humbucker shapes p90) in the bridge at one point. I realised I was trying to doing to many things from the one guitar, so I have ordered a jazz master from warmoth that achieves the sound I was trying to get out of this, and am converting this back to being a more tasty classic tele.

    I have bought a Glendale conversion brass saddle bridge and a porter 9T bridge pickup (p90 hybrid). I am leaving the neck pickup that’s in it, it’s a custom shop twisted Tele which I love (Tele/strat hybrid). I’m am putting a nitro butterscotch finish on it and have bought mostly vintage spec nickel plated hardware which I have distressed in hydrochloric acid fumes. Also had to go with the matte black pickguard.

    I know how I’m doing this isn’t the actual way they did it, I realise I’m not going for the actual Vintage butterscotch look, this is just going to be my take on it. That being said, if anyone has any advice or any comments pleeeease add them, I’ll take all info on board. This is my first time attempting a finish so any advice will greatly appreciated.

    I stripped the poly back with a heat gun and scraper. Then sanded off the remaining sanding sealer layers off with an electric sander. It was surprisingly easy. Once I got to the bare wood I hand sanded down to about 400.

    I then had to fill in the humbucker rout wings as they would have popped out from underneath the bridge plate. I just cut down and glued little bits of dowel and then filled the gaps with an ash woodfill/wood shaving mixture to achieve this.

    I applied a thin layer of sanding sealer before applying a walnut grain fill. I did 2-3 layers of this before leaving it for the night and sanding it off in the morning. The walnut really brought out the grain which is what I was hoping for.

    I used a full can of sanding sealer and colour over the past 2 days, so far I’m very happy with the results.

    The plan from here is to use a can of clear gloss and let sit for a fortnight before final sand. Then I’m putting it in the freezer to try and get some cracks, then I am going to finish it with a non silicon light brown boot polish/tru oil mix over a few days.
     

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  2. Randypttt

    Randypttt Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've got nothing but praise. Nice job. Looks more like stained ash than a butterscotch but I read what you said about that so no judgement. (shouldn't say ash coz I don't know ash from my elbow) It looks great.

    Bet it sounds good too. I have a Twisted Tele in one of my Teles and love it. It's married to a custom Broadcaster type pup that was made for me by a guy here on the forum (has since stopped sadly) very vintage sounding to me.

    Anyway cheers
     
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  3. peterg

    peterg TDPRI Member

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    Nice job! Can you provide details on your hydrochloric acid fuming process?
     
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  4. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Very nice.
     
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  5. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    Thanks mate,

    Yeah I think by the time I apply the tru oil it will have a very stained look. The brief was to end up with a nice butterscotch yellow, a semi relic’d look, but with the grain still very present. Will keep posting photos.

    In terms of the pups, it will probably end up being the least sounding tele, but as I said I never really dug the original bridge pickup so I’m hoping the the p90 will provide me with a little more grunt and a little less twang. I’m going to put a 4 way switch in it with the parallel wiring option. I think both pups together humbucking will be huge. Also considering wiring the tone pot so it only effects the bridge as well. I will muck around with a few options.

    thanks for the positive feedback!
     
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  6. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    it was super easy, I emptied out an old plastic tool box and got a few smaller take away containers and just put them upside down in the bottom. I then poured the acid into the bottom of the tool box so the containers were like little islands. Then put the hardware on top of the containers and shut the lid. The smaller things like the ferrules and strap buttons were only in there for an hour and a half. The knobs I left over night. The tool box wasn’t air right which I realised after starting. If I did it again I’d use a Tupperware container that was air tight, would probably cut down on time. You also have to use nickel plated stuff. I tried to do the original custom shop neck plate that’s chrome plated, didn’t work nearly as well. Be careful with the acid, it’s no joke. Opened the lid without wearing a mask the first time I checked and almost burnt my lungs out.
     
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  7. peterg

    peterg TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. You scared me off trying this! I’ve been thinking of trying to distress parts with ferric chloride. I’m not sure if fuming will work but immersing parts briefly should cause some distress.
     
  8. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    I heard with chrome you have to be careful putting it directly into the acid, apparently it’s dissolves back to the brass real quick. Ferric acid is called hydrochloric acid in Australia, there the same thing. I’m certainly not a professional Or anything but I didn’t find it to hard to do at all.
     
  9. Twang Deluxe

    Twang Deluxe Tele-Holic

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    A very nice project. I'm also thinking about converting my MiM Standard with s maple neck to early 70s specs.

    I would like to
    - sand off the brown sunburst finish qnd change it to 3 Tone Sunburst
    - replace the pickguard with a vintage style one without holes for the neck pickup
    - install 70s style Fender Tuners
    - refret the neck
    - remove the serial number on the headstock and put a 70s decal on it and than
     
  10. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    Looked at the cost of getting this professionally re-fretted, just a little over my current budget!
     
  11. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    Over the last few days I’ve applied a can of clear gloss coat- over about 5-6 layers. I’m sure my spraying technique isn’t amazing but clear coat just didn’t look thick or glossy enough. I had a can matte finish as well lying around. So over about another day I applied the can of that, and it really thickened up that Top layer and provided a little more gloss?

    I then let it sit for a day or two. I got impatient so I foiled the cavaties and have started hitting it with hair driers and sanding it back with 1200 wet n dry, with a water soap mix. Then I sand a boot polish/tru oil mix in with more 1200, before hand buffing out with a rag. This is the second layer, hoping I can get quite a cool effect happening over the next few days. I will gradually increase to 2000 grit.

    I’m kinda keen to get back to playing. (this is my only axe) so probably will wire it up over the next few days and just oil up the exposed bits on a daily basis. Over the next few weeks and occasional sand.

    I know it’s not perfect, Definitely had - few almost sand throughs, but they actually give it worn effect I really like. I’m not going for a super clean finish, I want it to look warn, and I feel like this technique might give me the best of both worlds!
     
  12. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    Gotta attach the photos
     

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  13. willholt92

    willholt92 Tele-Meister

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    Looks awesome mate nice work.
    I'm just about finishing up my butterscotch refin on a squier but I never went back to bare wood just shot over the poly.

    The freezer trick didn't work for me, tried it over 2 consecutive nights and hit it with a heat gun when it came out although I'm wondering if that is becuase the poly might not expand and contract like a bare wood respray would.

    The air can/hair dryer trick is my next port of call.
     
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  14. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    Was literally just looking at bolt freeze from an auto shop. Thinking I might throw that in the mix over the next few days to see what happens.

    I definitely read some where that nitro is much more reactive to temp changes then poly, hence why most manufacturers went that way. You probably already watched this, but this guy gives it a pretty good crack, I like how he doesn’t over do it. Maybe throwing some boot polish in the mix might help you.
     
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  15. willholt92

    willholt92 Tele-Meister

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    I've not seen that but I'll give it a watch.

    Yeah absolutely it has to be nitro to get it cracking properly with temperature, I've shot nitro over poly so in theory the nitro on top will get laquer checking.
    Yes that's it I only want a very light relic myself just to give it a bit of character.

    Well I've got some water based wood stain which I'm going to use to highlight the checking if I can get some good results with the air can.
     
  16. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    yeah I have a feeling the tru oil coats I’ve already done will create a protective layer which will prevent any real cracking happening but I’ll give it a crack.
     
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  17. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    Used some bolt freeze today to try and get some checking. As I thought, I think the tru oil id already applied created a bit of a protective layer and it didn’t result in anything really happening besides giving it a bit of extra shine. Pretty happy with how it’s all looking and am going to wire it up tomorrow.
     

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  18. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Never heard of a CS American standard Tele.
    AS where regular production line models.
     
  19. Cooper_aus

    Cooper_aus TDPRI Member

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    I emailed customer shop. They said the model name was “Custom Classic Telecaster”. This is what it looked like when I first got it. Is this different to an American Standard?
     

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  20. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Yes.
    It is a CS Custom Classic Telecaster.
    :)

    Pitty you have modified it to an extent that it has lost most of its future value :(
     
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